An alliance of business leaders, academics, the council and youth organisations is bidding for Hull to be European Youth Capital 2018 - a title currently held by Ganja, Azerbaijan.
One of the organisers, JJ Tatten, of the Warren Young People’s Project, said they aimed to harness the energy and creativity from 2017, when the city celebrates City of Culture.
A successful bid will not bring in money from the European Youth Forum, but would create a “platform to attract money into the area,” said Mr Tatten.
He said: “It will help change perceptions of Hull in people’s minds to a more youthful, creative, confident and dynamic city, rather than a stereotypically tired northern city that a lot of Southern-based media tend to paint.
“People don’t realise that the Bridge Stage at the Freedom festival was run by young people and they were central to the running of the Spiders from Mars stage at the Humber Sesh and Trinity Festival was run entirely by young people.
“It is raising aspirations, broadening horizons and creating the notion that all is possible when you are young.”
Hull is among 20 contenders, including Bristol and Manchester, hoping to make a shortlist of five cities, which will be announced at the end of April. A final decision will be made in November.